HC Deb 02 May 1989 vol 152 cc8-10
7. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what allowance is made for the in-service training of teachers in (a) school-time and (b) school holidays for heads, deputies and all other teachers; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mrs. Angela Rumbold)

Participation in in-service training is part of the professional duties of a teacher under the pay and conditions document. The amount of time devoted to in-service training in school hours and outside school hours varies according to need and circumstances. In the Government's view the five non-contact days should be used mainly for in-service training.

Mr. Greenway

Can my hon. Friend confirm that there will continue to be an expansion of in-service training for heads, deputies and all teachers? Can she also confirm that such training is much more expensive if it is undertaken in school time because replacements have to be arranged for the absent teacher, head or deputy? Could not incentives be provided for such teachers to undertake more in-service training in school holidays which, after all, are not short?

Mrs. Rumbold

My hon. Friend will be interested to know that some £50 million has been set aside this year in training grants for teachers undertaking in-service training, and an additional £50 million in education support grants to help in training to prepare for the national curriculum. My hon. Friend asked about in-service training during school holidays or outside school hours. Many good local education authorities already arrange much of their in-service training outside school hours and many very professional teachers prefer to do it then.

Mr. Flannery

Is the Minister aware—I am sure that he is—that about a fortnight ago the Secretary of State answered a question in the Select Committee, and that the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) is pursuing the same subject? The Secretary of State referred to the fact that the number of supply teachers is totally insufficient. Large numbers of teachers who wish to take part in in-service training cannot because there are not enough supply teachers to replace them.

Is the Minister aware that the Secretary of State made it plain in the Select Committee that he intends to cut the number of supply teachers—another severe cut—so that teachers, who, since he came to office, have had more work after school than ever before will have to go out at night and weekends for in-service training, instead of continuing with the present arrangements for which they need more supply teachers?

Mrs. Rumbold

The hon. Gentleman should know that many local education authorities are working hard to sustain and increase the number of supply teachers. They have some good schemes, and well-organised local education authorities have a considerable number of supply teachers to cover for other teachers who are doing in-service training. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State would have reaffirmed what I have just said to my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway), in reply to his question about in-service training out of school hours, insofar as it is important that professional teachers should, as much as possible, increase their professionalism by undertaking training both in and out of school time.

Mr. Favell

Is my hon. Friend satisfied with the present system for the appraisal of teachers? Three or four years ago, we heard a great deal about it. The medical profession has now accepted the need for the medical audit, which is appraisal by one's colleagues. Would it not be sensible to consider a similar scheme for teachers?

Mrs. Rumbold

My hon. Friend will know that there are provisions in the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 for the introduction of appraisal schemes. Six pilot schemes were undertaken in local authorities and those are currently being assessed by the Department of Education and Science, with the intention of introducing appraisal schemes in other schools in the not too distant future.

Ms. Armstrong

Does the Minister accept the view of Her Majesty's inspectorate that primary education is critically short of teachers with expertise in science, technology and mathematics? As primary schools will embark on teaching the national curriculum core subjects next term, what is the Minister doing to ensure that every primary school teacher has the in-service training necessary to embark on the project?

Mrs. Rumbold

As the hon. Lady will know, we are embarking on a substantial in-service training scheme for primary school teachers, as well as secondary school teachers. With the introduction in September this year of the core subjects of the national curriculum, primary teachers will need to undertake some in-service training in science and mathematics in particular, although many primary school teachers, having seen the syllabuses and the curricula for mathematics and science, are happy with them and believe that they are well prepared already to undertake most of the work.